Supply chain snapshot: uncovering opportunities despite disruption

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Summary

Quick answers to some of the most common supply chain questions.

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Summary

Supply chains have been buffeted by an unprecedented slew of recent global events, dislocating the flow of goods and fanning inflationary pressures. But the challenges have also accelerated innovation – from businesses investing in artificial intelligence to streamline trade to diversifying suppliers to ensure continued flows of goods. The disruption is creating significant opportunities for investment to help future-proof supply chains against further upheavals.

Key takeaways

  • Supply chains have been strained by the Covid-19 pandemic as suppliers struggle to keep up with surging demand
  • The Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated existing supply chain disruption, pushing up energy and key material prices further
  • Upheaval to trade may impact corporate earnings, but companies are mitigating risks by shaking up their supply chains and investing in technology
  • Amid the disruption, investors can find opportunities in sectors such as data centres, automation, and agricultural technology

Click the icons below for quick answers to some of the most common supply chain questions.

Geopolitics are creating new flash points

The invasion of Ukraine is an extreme example, but the emergence of two preeminent global ecosystems (centred around the US and China) could hasten supply chain reorganisations and even lead to reshoring.

Covid-19 hit manufacturing, too

A short-lived drop in demand caused manufacturers to scale back production. When demand picked up again, it was hard to keep pace, which pressured delivery times and prices.

Deglobalisation in some sectors is gaining steam

Amid ongoing trade disputes, protectionism is rising and countries are looking to be more selfsufficient. China is pushing consumer spending at home while continuing to promote its manufacturing prowess internationally.

Other unexpected events

Supply chains have been hit hard by severe floods in Europe, a winter storm in Texas and a six-day blockage of the Suez Canal, a major shipping artery.

Energy costs soaring

Higher hydrocarbon prices in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis have made it harder to obtain – and afford – many products and raw materials.

Precious metals pressured

Russia is a big producer of the palladium and nickel used in many high-tech products, and the energy transition is prompting a surge in demand for industrial metals overall.

Semiconductor shortages

Semiconductor factories had capacity issues before Covid-19, but the pandemic made it worse. Demand recovered faster than anticipated, and these key parts soon were in short supply for car makers and others.

Food costs rising

Food prices are at record highs, with the geopolitical crisis in one of the world’s bread baskets fanning prices for everything from sunflower oil to cereal.

Booming data centres

These facilities are in high demand, thanks to increasingly complex supply chains, growth in online shopping and the work-fromhome revolution.

Growth in agricultural tech

Soaring food prices mean more interest in food security, opening the way for more investment in agricultural technology and water irrigation equipment.

A surge in renewable energy

Surging hydrocarbon prices and sanctions against Russia will likely mean increased focus on renewable energy – not just in Europe, but around the world.

A robotics revolution

Businesses are turning to robots to find new ways to move goods to customers, and to future-proof their operations against supply and cost risks.

 

Commodities have fared well when inflation is high, can smooth returns

Source: World Robotics 2021. Robot density nearly doubled globally – International Federation of Robotics (ifr.org) .

 


Learn more: For more insights into supply chain disruption, read "Unpacking opportunities from supply chain innovation", available here: www.allianzgi.com/supplychains  

 

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